Part of the 101 Freeway Will Be Named in Honor of Trailblazing Astronaut Sally Ride

Encino's Sally Ride became the first American woman in space when she joined the crew of Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983.


Part of the 101 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley will be named in honor of pioneering astronaut Sally Ride, the first American woman in space. 

A resolution passed Tuesday by the state legislature designates part of the freeway in Encino, here hometown, as Dr. Sally Ride Memorial Highway

PHOTOS: 35 Years Ago, Astronaut Sally Ride Became the First American Woman in Space

Ride died of cancer in 2012 at 61. 

“As the first American woman in space, Dr. Sally Ride made history when she shattered the highest glass ceiling,'' said Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, D-Encino, who authored the resolution. “A proud Valley native, her legacy continues to inspire young people to reach for the stars, and I am immensely proud to help rename a portion of Highway 101 in Encino in her memory.''

Ride’s career as an astronaut began in 1978 when was was one of 35 people selected from 8,000 applicants to be part of  NASA Astronaut Group 8. In 1983, the Stanford University graduate became the first American woman in space as a crew member on the space shuttle Challenger.

Ride remains the youngest American astronaut to have traveled to space, having done so at the age of 32.


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“Sally would be so honored to have part of Highway 101 near her hometown named after her,'' said Tam O'Shaughnessy, Ride's partner of 27 years. “And it is very appropriate -- Sally spent countless hours on 101 driving to school and to tennis tournaments.''

Ride is also the earliest space traveler to be recognized as part of the LGBTQ+ community.

O'Shaughnessy accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom on behalf of Ride from then-President Barack Obama at the White House in 2013.

Ride retired from NASA in 1987 and began to teach, dedicating herself to encouraging children, especially young girls, to love science. In 2001,

Ride and O'Shaughnessy co-founded Sally Ride Science, an education company devoted to helping kids explore science.

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